Monday, March 1, 2010

The Hardest Part About Living Overseas

Before Don & I moved here to Germany in May of '09, I knew one thing for certain: the hardest part about living overseas would be being far away from our families.  It wouldn't be the language barrier or not knowing where to shop.  It wouldn't be the new driving rules or having to make all new friends.  It would be being far from family.  And from the get go, this proved to be true.  For a girl who couldn't seem to manage the distance brought on by Church Camp in elementary school, I'm amazed {& proud!} to now be living in Germany!  How tough I've become!  But that's not to say that it has been easy.

It took a lot of getting used to when we first got here.  It's not so easy to make those daily phone calls home on a whim or to write a quick text message just to say hello.  But after time, I got used to the new ways of communicating: Skype, mostly!  Then, the heavily anticipated trip home for Christmas where I was able to be with my family for 3 weeks!  What a dream!  Then, of course, the heavily dreaded goodbye.  There has never been one more difficult.

But these things are just a matter of handling.  There's nothing wrong, just a change!  Now, Don & I are seeing the truly difficult side of being away from family: when there is an ill family member at home.

Don lost his Grandmother earlier this year, & it was so difficult not being able to be there with his family during that time.  It almost makes it seem unreal since the only association we had with the entire process was through emails & phone calls.  But we did all that we could, kept them all in our constant prayers, & stuck together.

Now, my Grandmother is ill.  My last living grandparent.  She is such a cutie, 90 years old & just as punchy as ever!  In fact, when I saw her in December, we shared a Guinness!  I love this lady.  Now, here I sit in Germany while my family gathers in Missouri to see my Grami.  What a strange feeling to be so far away, but for a part of you to be back & home, hurting.  Who's to say when her time will come, but simply knowing that it is close is hard to grasp.  Don told me to look at plane tickets.  He will be gone for the next 3 weeks, after all.

And thus is the military life.  Thrilling to be overseas, seeing Europe & experiencing this splendid culture.  Heart-wrenching to be so far from family when they need you, & when you need them.

From the beginning, I knew that this would be the hardest part.  But to have these situations happen so close together?  Only God knows these things.  And only He can give us all his wonderful Peace that passes any understanding.

I'm off to check on those plane tickets ♥